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Do not move to GJ unless you have a job. It is a small city with limited opportunities, jobs are hard to come by and the pay scale may not be what you are used to.
Absolutelty true. Grand Junction more and more is returning to its "one note samba" status of being reliant on the natural gas industry for its primary economic base. The rest of the economic base in GJ is hurting pretty badly. If the natural gas industry falters--and it does with some regularity--GJ will face really serious economic problems. Even if the gas industry booms again, most of the decent paying jobs will be in that sector--and that type of work is not everyone's cup of tea.
I'm a little surprised I haven't posted on this thread as I've lived in the Grand Valley for over two decades and worked seasonal construction assignments on the Western Slope as early as 1968. I'm going to bring an example here I haven't posted on the other Grand Junction related threads. It's a company called Sundstrand.
Jazzlover is right. The gap between what few good paying jobs there are here and everybody else is wide. When the oil shale business when kaput in May of 1982 this area went into a depression. Unemployment hung over this area like a weather inversion. In a years time unemployment went to double digit figures and stayed there for years. Hundreds of homes that were bank repos or HUD's sat empty for a long time. Imagine a McDonalds boarding up and leaving town. That's what happened and other franchise businesses followed suit. Under a Republican regime at that time, unemployment benefits lasted 26 weeks, and that was it, as compared to a year or longer under the present administration. Grand Junction's head honchos were desperate to bring businesses in any way they could. In May of 1985 they started to do just that.
Hamilton Sundstrand is a defense contractor that is involved with aerospace manufacturing. The city not only welcomed them with open arms, but close to two million dollars was appropriated through state and county funds for relocation and startup costs. At first they started out with 250 employees and added a couple hundred more years later. These weren't burger flipping, floor sweeping wages either. They were well paying positions. It couldn't have come at a better time as there were lots of condos, townhomes, and three and four bedroom ranch homes were built just before the oil shale pullout. And they were sitting empty. It was a good start, maybe a blip on the radar screen but a blip nonetheless.
Fast forward twenty years and different local city honchos later. Sundstrand dropped a bomb on the city. In late November of 2004 the contractor announced they were shutting down operations here and at their Rockford, Illinois plant. By the Spring of 2005 they were gone. Guess where the jobs went? They were outsourced to Singapore. Lovely.(sarc.)
Two, maybe three years previous the energy companies moved into the the valley en masse. It wasn't a huge problem selling the homes that were vacated by the folks who lost their jobs (and a lot of them left the area as they knew what kind of employment base Mesa County had to offer). Then came Halliburton and other energy companies dropping the hammer. Hundreds of jobs were lost-again. Unemployment has improved somewhat; Mesa County's unemployment rate earlier this year was over 12%.
What I couldn't understand was how more companies weren't being enticed into coming here. Did the housing boom of the 90's help? Of course. Construction was a big factor here for a decade. But this area needed good paying jobs, the $50K to $100K Sundstrand type jobs. I don't know why Grand Junction didn't pursue this as they did in the early 1980's. Maybe they felt things were just fine building subdivision after subdivision and making sure every big box retail store had a location in Grand Junction.
I've only been living in Grand Junction for about 5 and a half years, so I'm unable to provide a long term perspective like jazzlover and Double H. When I arrived here in the go go days of '06, there were lots of jobs available, real estate values were rising about one percent A MONTH, and rentals were very hard to come by. Now jobs are scarce, real estate values are waaaay down, and rentals are easy to find. Unless you have a job lined up, I'd caution you NOT to relocate to Grand Junction.
My mother and I are looking to move to GJ. We're both on fixed incomes and need a three bedroom apt. or small home to rent. Where should I look? I'm 52 and she's 82. Thanks.
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Grand Junction is a terrible place to live in the winter, don't let them kid you about the weather, it is hot and dry in the summer, and winters are horrid. We get inversions in the valley and it can stay cold for long periods of time, trapping bad air in the valley and the cold. It has been below freezing since Christmas, and no end in sight. We have snow on the ground and today it is 14. As a senior I do not recommend living here if you have any sort of health issues. I have asthma and spend most of my time trying to breathe from December until March.
Ummm, welll, boom tudy is certainly describing the situation about right, for this year anyway.
The one good thing about this snowstorm we received is that we might get caught up to add maybe a little more than a half inch to last years dismal total. I haven't heard the final figures for the exact amount of precipitation Mesa County was sitting at, but before it snowed a couple weeks ago we were sitting at 3.70 inches of precipitation. That's for the year! The average amount of yearly precipitation is a little more than double that amount. Which is, yes, not very much.
We had one of these similar type situations, I believe it was four winters ago. The way January and a good part of February rolls around here is basically what boom tudy describes except for one thing. Normally the average temperature in the Grand Junction are the high would be around 35. No such luck this week as the five day forecast calls for highs in the mid 20's with lows around 5. Where I live in the Fruita area tack on another seven to ten degrees to that amount. Why? Because we got 3 to 4 more inches of snow than most everyone else in Mesa County. Last week five out of seven days it was below zero and on Wednesday night it got to 16 below. Temperature last night was 15 below.And this area won't see 40 degrees this month, that's a fact. Because it never does. The people who move here from out of state didn't get the memo that winters on the front range and weather on the western slope are not the same.
Last edited by DOUBLE H; 01-07-2013 at 05:45 PM..
So far this winter season 2012-2103, there have already been 13 days with temperatures at or BELOW Zero in Grand Junction. The temp has not risen above freezing since Dec 18th. Last winter 2011-2012, there were no below zero temperatures, and only 5 single digit lows the entire winter. What a difference a year makes! The only people living in Grand Junction primarily for the weather, are those who love extreme heat in the summer AND extreme cold in the winter.
If air quality is an issue, then you better cross Grand Junction off your list. The air can be quite smoggy in the winter when the temperature inversions trap the soot in the valley, and again almost any time of the year from dust storms. The only place I've lived with air this bad was the Denver-Boulder area in the early 70s. One other place I've experienced really foul air was Missoula Montana in the winter, but thankfully I was just passing thru. I spent a year living in LA, and the air was never as bad as it gets in Grand Junction. Nonetheless, I much prefer living in Grand Junction than living in LA.
Last edited by CosmicWizard; 01-07-2013 at 07:38 PM..
It has certainly been cold this winter in Grand Junction. And the air can get pretty hazy during the winter inversions, but it hasn't really been the brown cloud smog you'll see in LA or even Denver.
That being said, my limited experience living in GJ has been wonderful. I'm from Denver, and my wife is from a small city in the south, so this is a perfect compromise for us in terms of size. The culture is conservative but not excessively so. Local culture might seem dead to someone from Denver, but this place still has a distinctive local identity. You go to the store and you buy local fruit. You go out to eat and you drink a local beer (if you know what's good for you). Anyone who says that this place has had its local spirit smashed by the likes of Walmart has never traveled in the south, where Walmart has truly destroyed local, relatively self-sufficient local economies.
There is a ton to do if you like the outdoors. I've heard some people downplay this, and I don't understand why. It's true that the world-class skiing is kinda far, but Powderhorn is the best small ski area in the state, hands down. The mesa is great for camping and hiking, even if you aren't a hunter. Mosquitos there are tolerable, especially if you've ever spent time in Minnesota or the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. There are endless trails on public land in every direction, whether it's the empty, seemingly undiscovered bookcliffs or the popular but still uncrowded (relative to anything on the front range) national monument.
But I have to say that I didn't move here until I already had a job. My wife got one quickly, but she works in a high-demand profession (plus she's exceptional). I wouldn't recommend coming here without a job. Never.
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